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After three mayors, hundreds of projects and more than 33 years, Patrick Lawton has said goodbye to Germantown government.

The new year will bring a new Germantown city administrator as longtime position-holder Lawton has retired, leaving a legacy of determination and companionship.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” he said. “I love this community, I can’t think of a better place to be. I’m so proud of the role that I’ve had to play in shaping what Germantown is today.”

Germantown City Administrator Patrick Lawton stands outside Germantown City Hall on Dec. 9, 2021.

The road to becoming Germantown’s city administrator

Lawton, 65, knew from the start of college he was destined to work for government and attending a city manager conference solidified his decision.

“I was going to be in government one day,” he said. “I saw the positive change and the impact that the right person in that position (city manager) could make, and I thought I had the skillsets to do that, to run a city.”

Hailing from the Midwest, Lawton received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public administration at Indiana State University. From there, he went on to start his career in Salinas, California, working with the city manager for four years.

After the birth of his first child, Lawton and his wife decided to move closer to family and he took a job in Champaign, Illinois, where he worked on budgets with the city manager. He then moved up to community development.

Lawton was determined to become a city manager one day. So when the assistant city administrator position for Germantown opened up in 1988, he applied.

A handful of interviews later and Lawton moved his family to Germantown, where he would be the assistant city administrator. After a year, Mayor Charles Salvaggio appointed him Germantown’s administrator.

“It’s been a great place to live and to work and raise our family,” Lawton said. “I can’t think of a better place to be, very fortunate to be in that position back in 1989 and I told myself and others, ‘There’s not anything I can’t do, I am going to be successful in this position.'”

Lawton remained on a probation period the first six months of his tenure so Salvaggio could ensure he fit the position. During that time Lawton lived by the mantra that he would work harder than anybody else.

He survived his six-month probation period and remained in office for 32 more years.


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